by República del Cacao
Info Details
Country Ecuador   
Type Dark   (75%)
Strain Esmeraldas   
Source Ecuador   (Esmeraldas)
Flavor Spices & Herbs   
Style Rustic      (w/ Mainstream hopes)
If myths of Esmeraldas are to be believed, here's a bar with proof that what’s now imagined was once real (apologies to William Blake).

As per ‘food of the gods’ (re: the English translation for Theobroma cacao -- the tree from which all chocolate derives)... us fools have been given the back of God’s hand instead.

Maybe because this morning I put my pants on wrong, & before I could figure it out, she was long gone. There’s a blues lyric in there somewhere (Huddie Lead Belly, where you be?) sung by a road traveler (maybe Dana Fuchs). And this chocolate could hum along for a few bars... as the harmonica in the breakdown.

Still, it has its other more trad uses. Like basted on duck, or blended into good steak butter, & downed with a Tempranillo.
Appearance   3.2 / 5
Color: drowsy black ‘n red eye
Surface: good embossing w/ nice drop shadow on the font to otherwise battle-scarred road-warrior: grease spatter, tread marks, raked grooves, potholes, & odd specks too white to be bloom
Temper: angry matte plate
Snap: poured w/ Schwarzenegger-ala-Conan physique…meaty, beaty, big & bouncy; forces an effort to break off a piece (the channels are just for design); loud 'n proud; partially jagged / slightly striated cleave
Aroma   8.9 / 10
so heady you can feel the Ecuadorian earth move underfoot... gorgeous yang the 1st draft from cream, nuts (pistachio / cashew), & malt -> then hit by huge spice rack (cardamom, pepper, star anise, southernwood) -> deep musky groundswell abounds w/ lilting floral (lavender) & fresh loam + hay -> eventually lays out tar & morel mushrooms
Mouthfeel   9.7 / 15
Texture: no accusations of 'smooth-mouth': tough-tack chocolate-brick (see Snap above) -> granulated beeswax -> gets dusty cocoa-front before swelling into the puff of a bee sting (thanx lecithin)
Melt: slow & dysfuntional
Flavor   40.2 / 50
starts down the road tar & coffee grounds -> cardboard leavens thru eucalyptus & anise -> breaded-nut action (ahhh, Mayan breadnut) -> biriba cream tone infused by sassafras & coriander -> leche mocha -> cocoa-bamboo -> licorice-mint -> washes out naranjilla (or lemon rind wrapped around bamboo)
Quality   13.8 / 20
Taster-notes accompanying this veritable licorice-stick promise “wine... lemon peel... & roasted notes”. Well, 2 out of 3 ain’t bad... if counting asphalt tar as a ‘roasted note’.

Growers in A class=specpagelink href="/atlas/chocolate-strains/cultivar-strains/esmeraldas/">Esmeraldas always use ‘spicy’ to describe their cacáo yet the models coming to market so far tilt less toward spice, more toward fruit & cocoa cream, & being largely buttered over. Especially Domori’s (understandable for a couverture), yet even Caoni’s 77% eating bar is stepped-back.

RdC sets the record straight with an honest & true South American chocolate; for when a trip to Ecuador & walking thru the fields becomes unaffordable.

Nothing overtly sugared; just a very measured 3:3:2 CBS Index (Cocoa mass/Butter/Sugar ratio). On point, such as it is. Both nasal & tongue powdered into a spice rack, including a few that seemingly mentholate the length.

República’s craft, now some years on, feels stuck however, caught in a thicket as it crudely hacks its way thru the jungle. Every facet goes missing from the Look to the Texture (confused – if striving for rustica via a light-grind, why add lecithin for refinement?; the equivalent of dressing a donkey in mink) & the Flavor (not altogether bad per se, Taste better than overall experience... just an uneven roast... a malfunctioning toaster-oven experiencing electrical shorts?) & suspect drying.

All at odds with their first-rate packaging & promo materials which convinces with its ‘Arriba’ upriver appeal (however dubious; see the label's Vinces bar).

ING: cocoa mass, sugar, cacáo butter, lecithin

Reviewed Summer 2010


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